Saturday, November 19, 2011

Teachers, Unprofessional Whiners

So a someone came by to vent about something I wrote in 2005. And I know I shouldn't feed the trolls, but this is for 6thand6, I'm going to take it point by point.

"It is my opinion that teachers are the most unprofessional of all of the professions."
Yep, your opinion and you're entitled to it. You'd be ignorant and wrong, but that never stopped someone on the internet.

More about this, if you're so inclined, after the jump.

"And they seem to me to be the biggest whiners about how they are appreciated, or not."
Fuck you. That wasn't whiny, was it?

"Teachers should be required to report to work at eight o'clock and work to five."
I can't speak for all teachers, but I work 6:30 to 3:30 with students and after school until at least 4:00, with a half hour for lunch. I also have 6 classes during which I am always "on," either lecturing, guiding or facilitating. I don't get coffee breaks or bathroom breaks or smoke breaks or internet breaks AT ALL during time with students. After school I have tutorials, and then some afternoon meetings and evening meetings scheduled so working parents can attend, about twice a week. So, again, fuck you.

"Teachers should be allowed two weeks of vacation per year like the rest of us. Summers off? Only two weeks (but you can choose which two). Christmas break? Spring break? That's for the children isn't it? "
What do you think we do all summer? Eat bonbons on the couch watching Oprah and Ellen? This summer I spent most of my time getting ready for the school year to come. A week at a summer institute, at least two weeks in my classroom getting it organized and planning some future activities, and two other weeks with my peers at school getting the latest information and research on pedagogical efficacy and how to apply it to my subject area. In the winter I take a much needed break from being on stage for most of the day, and to get in some conversation and interaction with adults. As an industrialized and wealthy nation, we should be able to ALL have at least four weeks off a year. Instead you want to bring us down instead of elevating yourself. That's not very logical.
Also, "that's for the children" ? I don't get it. Are you saying they should be off and I shouldn't?

"You as teachers could be planning how to fix subpar students."
I already do. But, do you have some ideas how I could more successfully accomplish this? Because given your logic so far, I'm sure you must have some OUTSTANDING ideas about how I can do my job better. I'm sure that it's just my ladybrain getting in the way.

"You are not respected by the public at large because you haven't earned that respect."
Wow, I've not done my job as well as I can, presented myself in a professional way, treated all manner of idiots politely and respectfully when they belittle me on my own blog (except for occasional lapses) and done everything I can to help my students learn and be polite and respectful people themselves? Saying "you suck just cuz" is not so much a convincing argument. I see that YOU don't respect me or my peers or what we do.

"You are paid better than any educational system in the world, yet you don't deliver the best educated kids come graduation day."
Demonstrably false. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the US ranks below all of these nations in teacher pay: Australia, Netherlands, England, Scotland, Japan, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Korea and Luxembourg. 
Teachers also get less a percentage of GDP, below all of these nations: France, Austria, Finland, Chile, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Greece, Australia, Ireland, Slovenia, Turkey, Czech Republic, England, Spain, Mexico, Switzerland, New Zealand, Scotland, Japan, Portugal, Germany and Korea. 
You are correct about the US not delivering the best educated kids. But as a very eloquent man said the other day in the New York Times, holding me and the other teachers responsible for all of that is like blaming the foot soldiers in the army if the battle doesn't go well. We do a very good job, for the most part, with very little pay, very long hours, administrators with no experience in public education, and, as you stated, no respect because we don't deserve it.

"I've had two kids move through the Montgomery County, MD school system - supposedly one of the best in the world. [I think you mean country. The schools in Finland are considered the best in the world.] During the course of 13 years of schooling for each of my kids, I had to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on Sylvan Learning Centers, Ashley Tutors, and several private tutors."
I don't know anything about Maryland or Montgomery County. I work in Texas, and our schools rank below the national averages in most respects, and our governor and legislature just cut the budget for schools but signed a contract with Pearson for hundreds of millions of dollars for creating and grading new tests. They don't administer the tests, we do, under penalty of losing our job and our certification if something goes wrong. A school district near me had to lay off 230 teachers because of the budget cuts. But, that does not mean that teachers don't deal with all kinds of issues, and for the most part deal with them well. Especially since all the money goes to tests instead of to teacher pay or supplies that help teachers teach, like technology.
You don't say why you had to spend so much money on tutors. Here are a few questions for you:
Are your children developmentally or emotionally disabled, unmotivated or not very bright? Did you spend your thousands of dollars because your kids couldn't pass their classes or because you wanted them to get into ivy league colleges? Did you consider using the thousands of dollars you spent on private tutors for sending your kids to private school? Apparently you weren't happy with public schools, so why keep them there?

"I feel as if my tax dollars were wasted."
Perhaps your tax dollars were wasted. I don't know. But that's the price we pay for living in a society that believes that everyone deserves a chance to be educated. I believe that they do, and that teachers do a mostly thankless job. And we don't even get lip service any more.

"So, you can grouse all you want and write me off as ignorant, hateful, and bitter (I don't believe I am)."
Grouse, no. I'm not complaining about you, because you're just wrong. Ignorant, yes, you are. You don't have all the facts that you think you do. Bitter, yes. You have proved with your comment that you are bitter. You may not believe that you are, but no one spends however long you spent writing about how you wasted your tax dollars on a system that didn't educate your kids to your satisfaction without being bitter. Perhaps that word does not mean what you think it means?

"But if you were to be evaluated as those are in my line of work you teachers wouldn't measure up."
Bullshit. Were I in your profession, which you don't specify, but if it's in the business world rather than say, brain surgery, I bet that I would measure up. I'm smart, capable, college-educated and a master of logistics, because I have to be. I also don't make assertions about things like monetary compensation without the facts at my disposal. As you did. Would you get away with lying like that at your place of work?

"If each student in your classes are not A students, then you have failed in completing the task assigned to you." 
Also bullshit. My job is not to produce a class full of "A" students. If that's what you think teachers should do, you're completely mistaken. Poor teachers can have a class of "A" students, because they don't have the integrity to measure their students with regard to the student's growth. I care very much that I'm making as accurate a measure of learning as possible. Some can learn the material well, and some can't. To pretend otherwise is to live in a fantasy land. My job then is to present material, have students interact with the material and with each other, and to come to conclusions about the material and how it fits into their learning and their lives.  I do that to the best of my ability, and more.

You clearly don't care what I do or how I do it, but you're bitter about your own experiences and from what I can tell, want more vacation time than you get. Since you don't think you can get more vacation time, you think everyone else should lose theirs. What a bleak and depressing place to be.


Anonymous said...

Well presented Kathy. I have to admit though, there ARE some poor teachers out there like you pointed out and who I do have a grudge with for deluding their students and stunting their growth. However, you don't seem like the case (I haven't met you so I wouldn't know, I am speaking solely on the account of this post) so kudos for being one of the few educators I have met in the public school arena who can do a good job at teaching.

Unknown said...

I have work in a school for the last 30 years not as a teacher , Teachers today lie through their teeth when stating the facts . There is lots of down time ,library time ,movies ,outdoor activities.lounging around the foyer with class ,they call it a reading class ,the only one reading is the students not the teacher . They have lots of support / E,A.s //EEC / EDP // ,Give them any extra work in comes their militant union ,you chose the profession stop bitching ,we all have taken on more responsibility .. The job used to be about teaching children and molding a better person , You could be digging ditches in the winter ,or working as a single mother trying to put food on the table // you don't have it that bad ,,